Giant Telescope Consortium To Seek Spain Building Permit

Aug 5, 2019

BARCELONA, Spain  — The director of a Spanish research center says an international consortium that planned to build a giant telescope on Hawaii's tallest peak has decided to seek a permit for an alternative site in the Canary Islands.

Canary Islands Astrophysics Institute Director Rafael Rebolo told The Associated Press on Monday that he received a letter from the head of the Thirty Meter Telescope project saying the board decided "to proceed with the request to seek a building permit" for the island of La Palma.

Rebolo insists the telescope's backers still want to put the telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea.

In a statement, TMT Executive Director Ed Stone said while Mauna Kea remains the preferred site for the telescope, the consortium developing it continues to pursue regulatory approval in the Canary Islands as a Plan B. 

Native Hawaiian protesters are in their fourth week of blocking construction of the telescope on a mountain they consider sacred.

HPR News Staff contributed to this report.